NAME: Andres Adan Barraza
Immediate family: Amanda Molina (Mother) Miguel Barraza (Father) Nerina Gutierrez (Sister) Darian Barraza (Brother) Adan Barraza (Son)
Community you live in: Tempe (over 30 years)
How long have you lived in the Tempe Union district? Over 30 years
Educational background: Graduate of Marcos de Niza High School (Tempe Union HS District);Emergency Management System(FEMA); Statistics (ASU, Barrett)
What district do/did your children attend elementary, middle and high school and were they public schools? My son attended Fuller Elementary (Tempe Elementary School District); J.O. Combs Middle School (Combs Unified School District); Marcos de Niza High School (Tempe Union HS District). All schools are public schools.
Occupation: I left my passion as a firefighter in 2014 to start a coffee import company and roasting house with my son. It was a difficult decision to trade one passion for another, but I couldn’t be happier. While a firefighter, I served as a Senior Firefighter, Incident Commander Type-5 in Cave Creek, AZ.
Community involvement: I’ve coached for Tempe South Little League for two years and have been a part of the board for one year. I coach 13-14yr old kids, many of which have entered schools in our district. I also tutor students in Economics, Statistics, Math and Physics through local organizations.
Tempe Union District involvement: I’ve been a Committee-member with the Tempe Union High School District for two years and still an active member. As a committee, we are tasked by the district with a specific concern, then we research to understand the issue further and recommend solutions to the district.
Why are you running for school board? As a former student and father of a district student, I see our public schools as a direct investment into the lives of our children and the quality of our communities. I am running to invest in teacher and staff support, strengthen student programs and build post-graduate opportunities for students from college to job placement.
How should a board member carry out their duties? Emphasize transparency and an openness for comments from staff and community regarding district issues and ideas. They should research initiatives so proposals that come forth for a vote, fit within the district’s mission. A successful board member works with staff to develop ideas so that the district moves forward together.
How do you define a school board member’s role? A school board member serves an advisory and oversight role. Board members are members of the community that are entrusted by their community to ensure the success of district goals. The board as a whole decides how to proceed with policy.
What is the district’s most compelling need that is not being addressed by the board right now? Innovation in classroom instruction. Tempe Union is a strong district with a lot of support from the community. I would like to see our district invest more into implementing innovative teaching methods, project ideas and models that are being utilized around the nation that have be proven to work. Innovating our classrooms provides our students with an academic advantage while also making classrooms more productive for teachers and administrators.
How would you propose addressing that need? Connecting with neighboring school districts that are currently implementing new initiatives and shadow their efforts to see if what they are implementing will work for us. We should look to current research and reach out to businesses who emphasize support for funding innovation in public schools as well.
In one of the following words, how would you rate the superintendent’s job performance: Excellent Good Needs Improvement Poor.
Why? Excellent. Dr. Mendivil reaches out and addresses our community often. He’s continued efforts to grow student services such as more counselors on campuses and creating inclusive school environments. Dr. Mendivil works to strengthen relationships with partnering educational institutions and with local businesses to encourage opportunities for the students. I believe he is a valued asset to our district and we are fortunate to have him.
Will you maintain the board policy of televising meetings live then archiving the videos? I believe in transparency in public service and I encourage participation. Televised and audio transcribed meetings allow members of our community to stay engaged with our school district while also providing a sense of accountability. Let us also not forget those in our community who may have difficulty attending in person.
Should Tempe Union consider merging with Kyrene? Absolutely not. Doing so creates a large bureaucracy administratively and each district’s identity (Mission and Purpose) is weakened. Both districts are better served by focusing on their individual identities and strengthening their individual successes. I do not want employees worried about their jobs or parents worried about the quality of their child’s education.
What three personal skills/attributes would you bring to the board? A background in Emergency Management provides an understanding of multi-agency coordination and budgets while my background in business management brings a practical approach to operations. Serving on a district committee has provided the frame-work in which I’ve been able to use my skillsets within the context of our schools.
What, if anything, should the board do to improve school security? Prevention and Risk Management. As a firefighter, we stress prevention through educating the community on fire and water safety. We instilled risk management in ourselves through scenarios. Prevention training helps educators identify factors of suicide, bullying, etc. Risk Management provides the framework for educators to navigate a clear system of support.
What is the district’s most significant achievement in the last two years? Graduating Students. The greatest achievement we can accomplish as a district is to graduate students while providing opportunities for success and preparing them for life-challenges along the way.
Why should people vote for you? I am a graduate of this district, invested in my son’s education in this district, lived in the district for over 30 years. I have a strong commitment to serving my community and mentoring our youth as a coach and tutor. With a background in business and multi-agency budgets coupled with my personal investment to serving our schools, I feel I will be a valued asset to our district.